News ways of living, travelling, connecting. As society and its needs change, so do the architecture, spaces, and interiors of places both private and public and for hospitality. The concept of hospitality thus takes on new meanings. YellowSquare is coming to Florence: since its debut in Rome twenty years ago, YellowSquare has successfully offered a contemporary take on the hostel, creating a hub of activity where both tourists and locals can meet and connect.
A project developed by InvestiRE SGR, the hostel opens to the public in April 2022 in one of the city’s key areas, close to the Fortezza da Basso. It will be the brand’s third hostel, following their second opening in Milan in 2021. Florentine firm Pierattelli Architetture were tasked with defining a new concept of informal hospitality and developing a narrative capable of being form and substance, structure and content, space and message.
Converted from a ‘30s building, YellowSquare Florence sleeps 250, distributed in dorms of four and eight beds, and also includes 12 private rooms. The brand’s approach centres around the values of sharing: this is evident both in the design of the bar, the restaurant and the shared kitchen available to guests, and in the common spaces, guided by a sense of exchange and informal gatherings.
YellowSquare, a multifunctional and inclusive space, aims to be a catalyst for connection, offering numerous activities to that end such as cooking lessons and sunset yoga sessions. The project’s crowning glory is its pool and sun terrace on the top floor, with breathtaking views across the Florence skyline.
The architectural renovation
The building was originally built in 1935 as a provincial clinic for tuberculosis patients, before becoming the offices of the local health authority in the ‘80s. In 2005 it was put up for auction and then fell into a state of disrepair. Consisting of two main blocks – the first laid out over six levels, the second on a single aboveground level – YellowSquare occupies over 5000 sq m.
The redevelopment project implemented by Pierattelli Architetture retains the key structural elements typical of rationalist architecture, while updating the layout through modern interventions designed to respect the building’s identity and context. The main aim of the designers was to preserve the historical importance of the building and its original architectural features.
The finest travertine stone was used for the doorway, the stairs, the large plinth and to frame the profiles of the large facade openings. The monolithic character of the exterior structure and the large doorway of the ivory white main facade, accessed by the wide staircase, result in a minimal and elegant effect. The staircase leads to the hall, with adjoining dining area and bar/restaurant with kitchen.
In addition to some rooms, the ground floor houses a space fitted out as a guest kitchen and one reserved for cooking lessons, as well as the service areas for the restaurant. A club area was created in the basement, which also houses the garage, utility rooms and storage and service spaces. The rooms, with private facilities, occupy the building’s entire first and second floors. By eliminating the roof layer, the architects created a rooftop space with panoramic pool and sundeck.
YellowSquare Florence offers its guests a range of services designed to encourage socialising and connection: from clubbing to wellness, from yoga lessons to cooking courses, as well as spaces for co-working. The food & beverage experience is split over three levels, like the periods of the day: from Bargiù in the basement offering the ideal spot for underground culture and night-time cocktails, to Barmezzo for a pleasant place during the daytime, and Barsù on the rooftop with its panoramic views over Florence, the perfect place for relaxing in the pool or on the sundeck.
Vibrant colours in bright shades of yellow and orange and cooler tones of green and blue play a key role in the project and convey a sense of welcoming energy. Passageways are enveloped with a textured sound-absorbing fibre mounted on the ceilings. Geometric shapes and the use of colour on walls and floors define playful and open interiors, creating a youthful, convivial place. The interiors are complemented by works by Argentinian artist Valentina Chiappero: her project is entitled “SACADO”, translating as “taken out of context”. Source by Pierattelli Architetture.
- Location: Florence, Italy
- Architect: Pierattelli Architetture
- Architectural Project: Andrea Pierattelli, Massimo Pierattelli
- Design Team: Gianluca Anolfo, Mirko Lepri, Tommaso Greco, Anna Paola Grieco, Claudio Fabbri
- Interior Design: Pierattelli Architetture, YellowSquare Ernesto di Santo
- Client: InvestiRE SGR
- Partner: 3 ing.
- Total Area: 5000mq
- Year: 2022
- Photographs: Iuri Niccolai, Courtesy of Nemo Monti